Murrayville residents ‘in shock’ over demonstration garden loss

Residents have become accustomed to looking out over the Langley Demonstration Garden and a patch of bare land

Residents who have become accustomed to looking out over the Langley Demonstration Garden and a patch of bare land would like the view to stay that way.

But a developer has other plans for the southwest corner of 221 Street and 49 Avenue.

Preston Properties has applied to rezone 1.7 acres from civic institutional to multi-family, to allow the construction of 87 apartments.

The property had been earmarked for expansion of the Murrayville civic core, but after the Township’s municipal hall relocated to Willoughby in 2005, zoning for the property, and others in the core, is being reviewed.

The intent now is to consider the land in context of its surroundings. A series of condos lie to the west, commercial development to the south, and vacant civic-institutional properties to the north and east.

The demonstration garden is to be relocated to the Doubleday Arboretum on Fraser Highway.

Peter Pettirsch said that an apartment development will have a negative impact on the neighbourhood.

“Almost everyone I have spoken to is dead against it. Everyone is in shock.”

He told council that property for the demonstration garden was given to the Township and “residents would like to keep it as it is.”

Several residents spoke against the proposal at a public hearing on Dec. 12. Among them was Suzanne Mitar who submitted a petition with 58 signatures of people who also oppose the plan.

Speakers told council of their concern for the loss of green space, additional vehicle traffic, particularly on 49 Avenue to which a link (220 Street) was opened earlier this year after a new housing development opened on 50 Avenue.

The new link now provides another link from Murrayville to Fraser Highway, via 216 Street at 50 Avenue.